What Does Shadowboxing Do? | Easily Explained

Many fighters are seen shadowboxing during training, hours before their fight, and even seconds before their fight.

But what does shadowboxing actually do? In this page we will explain.

Table of Contents

What Does Shadowboxing Do?

Shadowboxing is a low impact activity that increases heart rate and allows a fighter to really focus on technique, footwork, and coordination as they are able to practice their movements against air. It also allows a fighter to visualize a fight and practice how to react to certain situations, both offensively and defensively.

shadowboxing with coach

Fighters typically shadow box as a warm up during their striking portion of classes.

Shadowboxing allows the muscles of the fighter to properly warm up before actually hitting pads or opponents.

Can You Kick During Shadowboxing?

Although shadowboxing is normally referred to as punching versus air, you are also able to throw kicks, knees and elbows when shadowboxing.

In fact, MMA fighters will throw all of the above while practicing their movement, technique and footwork.

kick against air

Shadowboxing When Injured

Although shadowboxing is normally used during training and before fights, many fighters use shadowboxing when they're returning from injury.

The low impact allows them to refine their technique while they are able to rehabilitate their injury in the meantime.

Many fighters who are injured aren't cleared for contact sparring immediately, so shadowboxing is a great alternative in the meantime.

What Muscles Does Shadowboxing Build?

Shadowboxing will warm up and strengthen the muscles that you use. If you are throwing a punch, that could include your chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps and even abdomens. If you're throwing a kick, it can include your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and back.

Here you can see Floyd Mayweather even add weights to his shadowboxing regiment.

Is Shadowboxing Effective Cardio?

Shadowboxing can absolutely be great cardio, the trick is simply to set a timer and shadowbox non-stop during the allotted time. You can do a high intensity interval training such as 1 minute of shadowboxing, 30 seconds of rest, and repeat, or just non-stop 10 minutes of shadowboxing, with several rounds.

It comes down to preference, but one thing is certain. If you truly focus on shadowboxing during that allotted time without interruption, you will begin to sweat within minutes.